Top Brands Making a Change

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As time marches forward, businesses that don’t change and adapt risk being left behind in a competitive marketplace. These five businesses were at the top of their industries at one point in time, but today, struggle to maintain their relevance. Each company is taking a different approach to recapturing their market share; here’s what you can learn from studying them.


For years, Coke held the top spot as the number one brand in the world. However, changing tastes and the global campaign against obesity caused the company’s rank to plummet. Since soft drink sales drive nearly 60 percent of the company’s revenue, Coke had to face this problem head-on to survive. The company launched its hugely popular “Share a Coke” campaign in the summer of 2014, featuring personalized bottles and cans, and a highly targeted social media marketing effort. After a 10-year slump in sales, the brand saw sales grow over 2.5 percent.


McDonald’s also faces declining sales as Americans grow concerned about the obesity epidemic and competition from regional chains grows. To turn things around, CEO Don Thompson is shrinking menu choices to speed up wait times, tailoring menus to more regional tastes, and focusing on fresh foods. Additionally, late in 2014, McDonald’s began testing an innovative ordering program featuring tablets that enable customers to place completely customized burger orders from a menu of bread, toppings, cheeses, and sauces.


Once at the top of the technology world, Microsoft has made several mistakes over the years that have left it behind the times. To change that, the company is retooling its operating system to ensure their products work with iOS and Android platforms, and focusing on mobile devices in an attempt to become relevant again.

J.C. Penney

After a disastrous run under CEO Ron Johnson, J.C. Penney nearly closed its doors for good. However, former CEO Mike Ullman, who is overseeing the apprenticeship of new CEO Marvin Ellison, has helped the department store chain stop hemorrhaging cash and, for the moment, stabilize its financial situation.

Ellison believes e-commerce is his biggest priority to re-energize shoppers and recover the retailer’s tarnished reputation. Online sales make up about ten percent of the company’s total sales, but executives think it should account for twenty percent of sales. In order to stimulate online sales growth, Ellison plans to streamline the process of picking up online orders in-store and shipping orders directly from stores.


Anyone with executive-level business experience knows that limiting market appeal to one demographic group won’t keep a business relevant in a rapidly changing world. After watching its revenue dip for several years, Hooters, a 32-year-old restaurant chain, is learning this the hard way, as competing chains make inroads into their market share. In an attempt to revitalize, the company is remodeling local restaurants, modernizing their out of date uniforms, and introducing new menu items to attract a female clientele.

As these top brands prove, change is inevitable and the only way to stay on top is to continue to evolve and adapt.

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